App update: Diet & lifestyle questionnaire

October 1, 2020

This week, we have launched a detailed diet and lifestyle questionnaire on the COVID Symptom Study app.

This validated questionnaire aims to help researchers investigate the impact of diet and lifestyle on COVID-19 symptoms and severity. It has been developed by a team of expert nutritional scientists from King’s College London, together with international collaborators from Massachusetts General Hospital and Stanford University.

The questionnaire will take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete and will help researchers gain more detailed insights about the impact of lockdown on diet quality, dietary habits, physical activity, sleep, and food access, amongst other factors.

With over 4 million app users, this study has the potential to be one of the largest nutrition research projects ever undertaken, and will provide key insights towards future diet and lifestyle recommendations for the general population to help fight this disease and other nutrition-related health outcomes. 

What do we know so far about diet, lifestyle behaviours and COVID-19?

Despite the known links between obesity and diet-related chronic diseases, there is a lot that we still don’t know about the direct impact that diet and lifestyle behaviours might have on COVID symptoms and severity. However, we do not eat nutrients in isolation; rather, we eat them as part of foods that are eaten in the context of larger dietary patterns.

At this point we don’t have a detailed understanding of which foods, dietary patterns, eating and lifestyle behaviours have a direct impact on COVID symptoms and severity. By completing this validated food questionnaire, you will play a key role in helping us improve our understanding of how whole foods and dietary patterns, as well as other lifestyle habits, impact COVID-19 symptoms and severity.

Digging deeper: How has lockdown impacted our diet and lifestyle habits?

Earlier this year, we launched a short diet and lifestyle survey. According to data collected through this survey, COVID-19 lockdown has led to increased snacking and alcohol consumption for many across the US. Those who reported an increase in snacking gained 7 lbs on average and those who reported an increase in drinking gained an average of 4.6 lbs.

This more detailed diet and lifestyle questionnaire will allow researchers to build on their current understanding of the broader implications that lockdown and this pandemic have had on the diet and lifestyle of the UK population.

Your support is key

This questionnaire is an amazing opportunity for scientists to gather a vast amount of data that will also help in future exploration of the links between diet, lifestyle behaviours and our health. Our research relies on your invaluable input, so please help contribute to this exciting research by updating your app and taking part in the questionnaire. If you aren’t using the COVID Symptom Study app already, please download it from your relevant app store to aid this important research.‍

How you can participate in this research

First, ensure that your COVID Symptom Study app has been updated to the latest version (it may take up to 24 hours to appear). When you open up your app, you should see a screen like the one below. To complete this questionnaire, select 'Yes, let's do it'. If you would like to complete the questionnaire at a later date, you can select 'No, but ask me later' and will be able to access the questionnaire from the menu in your app.

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